Fiction & Fables
The bus was crowded with boisterous children, many of whom TJ seemed to know. He exchanged pleasantries of the spitball and ear-flicking variety with them. Fortunately, I was more or less left alone, and TJ made no effort to introduce me to anyone. Although I noted the lack of traditional social grace (something of which I was almost as guilty), I did not dare hold this against him for fear that he might detect even my most secret disapproval. In no way did I want to increase the likelihood that some subroutine of cordiality, constructed passively by observation but unused to date, would become active in TJ and lead to my forced interaction with the other riders.
The runway at St. Dymphna is a circle, the preferred orbit of angels, but not well-suited to sublunar aircraft. Our stewardess assures us, however, that air traffic controllers on the island of St. Dymphna are legendary geometers, and fully ordained priests. Very few planes fall prey to centrifugal disaster. And, miraculously, ours is not one of them.
After a couple of nights in the pension, slowly recovering from our descent onto the runway, we pack our knapsacks and head out into the rainforest. Hiking is the chief touristic activity on this island, where so little is horizontal. The Dymphnasians are helpful should you get lost. To be precise: the sane ones are.
The terrible moonlight guides us back to our pavilion. We say nothing to each other. Lucia's face is ghastly in this changed light; mine is too, I expect. What was pity has become something so much deeper, unfathomable, something which stares into you as you stare into it.
‘Don’t you think your argument was a bit...’ Ali Raza squeezed his eyes as he smiled and stared at Rajmi.
‘I mean you told Kulsoom that being a descendent of the Prophet Muhammad you were the best match for her,’ Ali Raza’s utterance came through a little cloud of smoke...
© 2006 Hanna Mandelbaum
I took one long inspiration of the Egyptian cigarette. The grey-green smoke arose in a small puffy column that spread and broadened, that seemed to fill the room. I could see the maple leaves dimly, as if they were veiled in a shimmer of moonlight. A subtle, disturbing current passed through my whole body and went to my head like the fumes of disturbing wine. I took another deep inhalation of the cigarette.
"Mr. Clopman, you're just being audited, Hell's on a lower floor."
No matter who he knew or had dinner with, or outright bought like a pound of lox, somehow he could only be an associate member of the Portico Club, despite the fact he owned the lease.
One evening he was working a gathering so exclusive that even the regulars were persona non grata. There was a rigid guest list so sexually servicing or bribing the bouncer cut no ice tonight. If Christ the King had shown up without an invite, he'd have been given the gate too.
A year earlier, the younger man had shown up wearing sackcloth and carrying a "SHAME!" placard at an annual stockholder's meeting. The year before that, he'd chained himself to the board room credenza and had to be extricated by the fire department, an episode which severely eroded shareholder confidence in the CEO's leadership abilities.
"A naked woman and a dead dwarf; wealth and indifference. Poor dwarf!"
Government, opined the young conservative, is too important to be left to the whims of the governed. The old man laughed delightedly.
And this is what I did: I sat in a large worn-out chair, watched movies, read The New Republic, and rubbed my shoe.
"Yeah, you know what distinguishes Jews from everyone else is that the Jew intuitively knows he can cut a deal with God."
"Upon my word!" cried the fool. "N.N., the notorious scoundrel! He swindled all his relations. Everyone knows that. You're quite behind the times."
The music was loud, the atmosphere smoky and there were women there with whom he could get lucky if he had a mind to.
"He went like that," Spade said, "like a fist when you open your hand."
Bedwarfed the man, o'ergrown the brute...
This bunch of seekers was too militant, that bunch too authoritarian. Another demanded he shave his head and wear saffron robes even though he was allergic.
Once upon a time there lived at a small woman's college a Drugstore Bohemian who had a thing about ART, specifically poetry. In her reveries, she fantasized about what it would be like to be a patron and surround herself with great minds speaking great thoughts only to her. When she came into her trust fund, she vowed to start a foundation to support all those great struggling souls, and incidentally get in on the ground floor when the next shining light burst forth.